#childpredator | 26 Albertans facing 63 charges after province-wide child pornography investigation

Twenty-six people from across Alberta are facing dozens of charges after a three-month investigation into child pornography.

The Internet Child Exploitation Unit of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams‘ investigation spanned from June 20 to Sept. 17.

According to a Wednesday news release, most of the arrests came after investigative referrals were received from the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Centre.

Read more:
4 Medicine Hat men arrested on child pornography charges: ICE Unit

The people arrested have no definitive links other than the offence, ALERT said, and suspects were arrested from cities and towns all across Alberta.

“The internet isn’t anonymous and these arrests demonstrate ALERT’s willingness to travel to all corners of the province to make arrests, put predators behind bars and keep kids safe,” said Supt. Dwayne Lakusta, ALERT chief executive officer said in a Wednesday news release.

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Online child exploitation cases spike in Alberta amid COVID-19 pandemic


Online child exploitation cases spike in Alberta amid COVID-19 pandemic

Member in charge of ICE, Staff Sgt. Mike Zaparyniuk, said the suspects typically target kids in the same way. The suspect will reach out to the children online or through a social networking app and will often pretend to be the same age as the child and attempt to build trust.

Once that trust is built, the suspect will usually then ask for images to be sent back and forth. Sometimes the suspect will exploit the child after receiving those images or will try and meet the child in person.

“The biggest thing is for parents to have honest conversations with their kids so the kids know they can come to their parents if they are approached online that they haven’t done anything wrong,” Zaparyniuk said.

One of those arrested was a 16-year-old teen from Sherwood Park. ALERT didn’t specify whether it was a boy or girl who was arrested.

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The 26 people facing charges are:

  • a 16-year-old young offender from Sherwood Park
  • Kevin Borchert, a 29-year-old man from Sherwood Park
  • David Cadieux, a 27-year-old man from Calgary
  • Joseph Cadrain, a 32-year-old man from Strathmore
  • Gary Campbell, a 28-year-old man from Lamont
  • Michael Ciesla, a 32-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Michael Courtepatte, a 44-year-old man from Athabasca
  • Victor Delage, a 29-year-old man from Wainwright
  • Gerald Donel, a 57-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Brian Farris, a 40-year-old man from Grande Prairie
  • Humberto Ferreyra, a 51-year-old man from Lake Louise
  • Coby Franz, a 42-year-old man from Alder Flats
  • Sean Giles, a 41-year-old man from Lethbridge
  • Brock Hann, a 21-year-old man from Morinville
  • Richard Lepchuk, a 59-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Christian Meier, a 52-year-old man from Calgary
  • Troy Melnyk, a 49-year-old man from Spruce Grove
  • Stephen Miehe, a 28-year-old man from Cardston
  • Alasdair Mills, a 61-year-old man from Edmonton
  • David Peeke, a 45-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Christopher Piers-Hanley, a 31-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Kalon Specht, a 30-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Andrew Stredick, a 30-year-old man from Calgary
  • Charles Tadashore, a 43-year-old man from Calgary
  • Laurence Thrasher, a 40-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Michael Vandermay, a 52-year-old man from Calgary

According to ALERT, each of the suspects was charged with at least one child pornography offence. A full list of offence’s was posted to ALERT’s website, and includes charges like making, accessing and distributing child pornography as well as making child pornography available.

Read more:
Spike in online child exploitation reports in Alberta ‘likely’ due to COVID-19 isolation measures: ALERT

“In Alberta, those who participate in the exploitation of children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The government of Alberta will ensure our law enforcement has the tools and resources to track down child predators and bring them to justice,” Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, said in a news release.

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ICE believes the rise in the number of investigative referrals could be due to “digital dependency during COVID-19 isolation measures.”


Click to play video 'Spike in online child exploitation reports in Alberta ‘likely’ due to COVID-19 isolation measures: ALERT'



Spike in online child exploitation reports in Alberta ‘likely’ due to COVID-19 isolation measures: ALERT


Spike in online child exploitation reports in Alberta ‘likely’ due to COVID-19 isolation measures: ALERT

“We’re up hundreds of files right now from previous years and, specifically, the number spiked when kids were starting to work from because of COVID and having to do their school from home,” Zaparyniuk said.

The increase isn’t unique to Alberta either, he said. According to Zaparyniuk, ICE units across North America are seeing the same thing.

“I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

There is information on the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s website for supporting families, caregivers, schools, educators and child-servicing organizations through the pandemic.




© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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